BVIs to the Azores - Day Four 25 18.945N 062 38.116W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 31 May 2014 23:15
Even lighter winds and our speeds are dropping, sometimes down to below 3kts, but while we're moving in approximately the right direction, we're loathe to use precious fuel which we may need the other end if we have to motor into the middle of the windless high to reach the Azores islands. It's still very pleasant with flat seas and hot and sunny weather. Our noon-to-noon run was 104.5 miles so we are progressing. There is a low pressure system to the north west and the Azores high to the north east and we're in no-man's land between the two. We either try to get north and pick up wind circulating around the low or head east and pick up wind circulating around the high, allowing us to head north east. One significant change is that what wind there is has come round to SE-SSE so we can make the 050 course to the Azores. However, to keep up any speed at all we need to keep the apparent wind up, so going close hauled almost due east achieves that and that's today's plan! But whereas we were making 4 and sometimes 5kts yesterday, we've been down to 3 to 4kts for most of today.

A reason to celebrate is that we have less than 2,000 miles to go! The course we plotted from the BVIs gives a distance of 2,333 miles and we have 1,871 to go. Well something around that figure. It could be more if we're forced too far from the great circle route we've plotted. The problem with this passage is that you could do it 10 times and follow 10 different routes. It's out of the nice, relatively constant trade winds and so dependent on the position of the Azores high and low pressure systems coming of the eastern seaboard of North America.

Forgot to mention yesterday that we had just left the tropics! It's actually still very warm, much warmer than when approaching St Lucia, and we're in shorts and T-shirts even on night watch. That's probably due to the fact that the sun is so far north, almost up to 22 degrees north, being the northern summer. There's another reason it's a bit hot below today - banana bread is cooking in the oven! Also as we get further north, the days are getting longer, or a much nicer thought is that the nights are getting shorter! Had a sliver of moon last night, so it's starting to make a comeback! What there was set very early and the brightest object in the sky was Jupiter and we had a Jupiter beam (rather than a moonbeam!) across the water.

Had a small problem last night that kept us from our sleep. Always seem to discover problems in the middle of the night! One of our 2 deck scuppers on the port side had a small leak back in South Africa and I put in a temporary fix and that held fine all the way to the BVIs. But I think the strains on the boat of being lifted out opened up the leak again and with all the water we had on deck during the first 24 hours slowly working it's way down the back of the furniture and appearing on the floor. Of course you immediately think it's coming up from the floor and the floorboards came up suggesting it might be coming through one of the dynaplate fixings, but then we notice the trail and followed it back, taking the boat apart as we went, until finding the leaking deck fitting. Anyway, put a bigger temporary fix in today and hopefully that will hold it until we get somewhere where we can fix it properly. With the weather as it is currently we haven't had any water on deck since that first day, so we hope it stays that way!

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